The other night I was humbled to be sitting in a fancy room with other United Methodists in Dallas in order to hear Rev. Adam Hamilton share a few words on his book set for release in the spring of 2016 entitled Half Truths. I don't think that I am giving anything away when I say that it is a book that is addresses five different cliches that Christians say that are half true (at best). The five half truths in the book are:
- Everything happens for a reason
- God helps those those who help themselves
- God does not give you more than you can handle
- God said it, I believe it, that settles it
- Love the sinner, hate the sin
The lecture he gave addressed the first and the last half truth listed above with most of the time going to "everything happens for a reason". It was a fine lecture mostly dedicated to the older debate between Calvin and Arminius. Since the room was full of United Methodists (of the Armenian influence) the lecture was an easy sell.
While the lecture was fine and logical, it is clear to me that these half truths are here to stay, they are a part of the lexicon of many Christians and to logically talk them out of using them will be a difficult thing to do. It is in part because these cliches are so sticky that is what makes them difficult to remove from our vocabulary.
While I appreciate the contribution Rev. Adam Hamilton is making in helping us all see the theological limitations of these half truths, I do not believe that it will help remove these half truths from our culture. As Andy Crouch said in his book Culture Making you cannot eradicate culture you can only make new culture. We cannot eradicate the poor language, we have to make new language.
For instance, instead of saying, "everything happens for a reason" what about "everything happens and sometimes there a reason." Or, as Rev. Hamilton stated, "I love the sinner despite I sin."